About this segment: Person of the Month is an initiative by the University of Malaya Law Review which aims to feature a prominent member of the University of Malaya’s Law Faculty towards the end of each month. The purpose of this segment is twofold. Firstly, to give due recognition to the contributions of our student leaders and secondly, so that their achievements inspire other members of the faculty towards greater successes.
Leeroy Ting Kah Sing, an alumnus of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya.
Ting Kah Sing (Leeroy) is an alumnus of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya (UM) who is well known for his outstanding achievements in many arenas, prominently being the founder of the University of Malaya Law Review (UMLR). He is also a star in the debating world, having conquered numerous prestigious debate competitions. He was also appointed as a Student Ambassador by LexisNexis Southeast Asia, a company specialising in providing legal research tools to lawyers. Having recently graduated, he is currently working on the support team of the Institutional Reforms Committee, an advisory body established by the Council of Eminent Persons to look into reforms to key institutions in Malaysia.
Prior to law school, Leeroy had early exposure to the legal profession by working as an intern for Dominique Ng & Associates, a law firm in his hometown, Kuching, Sarawak. The experience allowed him to get acquainted with the intellectual stimulation of legal research and the practical application of legal knowledge. He has always been fascinated by the art of public policy, and by how legislation and policy can shape a nation’s destiny, and deal with problems that afflict society. He then pursued his interest in law at the University of Malaya. He said, “Good and sensible laws, or the lack thereof, can make or break a nation, and I wished to play a part in contributing towards a better Malaysia.”
During his four years in the University of Malaya, Leeroy was very active in varsity debating. His passion for debate was primarily driven by his interest in matters not traditionally covered in law school, such as public policy, international relations, economics, and sociology. He admitted that his decision to dedicate himself to debate received some puzzling views, due to the well-established and formidable reputation of the Faculty as a mooting powerhouse.
In his defence, as a person who experienced the best of both worlds – having won the Orientation Moot Competition and the Best Team Award at UM’s Internal Moot Competition in his first year – he found that competitive debating allowed him to step outside his comfort zone. He was able to engage in complex discussions pertaining broader issues rather than focusing predominantly on specific legal issues. He felt that debate has turned him into a well-informed, knowledgeable, critical, confident, and overall well-balanced person.
For the record, Leeroy is the champion of the Malaysia Debate Open 2018, the Malaysia Royals Intervarsity Debate Championship 2017, the Queensland Australasians Debate Championship 2017 (ESL Category), the Macau Asian Parliamentary Debate Championship 2016, and the Perth Australasians Debate Championship 2016 (ESL Category). He also ranked as the 6th best speaker in the Asian British Parliamentary Debate Championship 2017 in Krabi and reached the semi-finals of the United Asians Debate Championship 2017 in Cambodia. His team was the 19th best team in the world in the Mexico World Universities Debate Championship in 2018.
Leeroy and Mr. Vinodhan Kuppusamy, finalists of the Malaysian National Intervarsity Debating Championship 2017.
Besides debating, Leeroy has served on the Adjudication Core of over twenty national and international debate competitions. Among the tournaments he adjudicated are the Asian English Olympics 2018 in Jakarta, the Taiwan Debate Open 2018, the Suzhou International Tournament 2018, and the Malaysia Royals Intervarsity Debate Championship 2018. Recently, he was elected by the Asian debating community to serve on the Adjudication Core of the Hanoi United Asians Debate Champion 2019, the largest Asian Parliamentary Debate Championship in Asia.
The idea to have a Law Review fully administered by undergraduate students in Malaysia, where university students are often infantilised, might seem odd and rather unconventional – but not to Leeroy. Before founding UMLR, he published legal articles in various platforms. In his words, while he received encouraging positive reviews on his works, he noticed that opinionated, outspoken and well-versed law students in Malaysia lacked a platform to express their views. Hence, Leeroy took a leap of faith to propose his plan to establish the Law Review to the Faculty. Luckily, it received positive responses from the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Associate Prof. Dr Johan Shamsuddin and Dr. Sarah Tan, a senior lecturer in the Faculty. Along with a team of dedicated individuals and the kind guidance and mentorship of Associate Prof. Dr. Johan and Dr. Sarah, he turned the dream into reality and established the University of Malaya Law Review.
Leeroy at the launch of the first Academic Journal of the University of Malaya Law Review with Associate Professor Dr. Johan Shamsuddin bin Hj Sabaruddin, Dean of the UM Faculty of Law and Dr. Sarah Tan.
Quoting Leeroy, a Law Review incentivises law students to be aware of the current state of laws, critically analyse current affairs, and encourage them to sharpen their legal writing skills. On top of that, a student-run Law Review may also help raise the reputation of Malaysian law students in the eyes of the world, showing that our students are able to write, review, and produce a world-class law journal. Leeroy is truly honoured to have been given the opportunity to be a part of a huge milestone for the UM Law Faculty.
Having to juggle both UMLR and debates, we wonder how he still excelled in his academic studies, especially when he managed to receive the Dean’s List award twice in a row. It is worth quoting his casual reply, “I didn’t really have to balance much because I didn’t do much else besides those three. You’ll be surprised how much free time a total workaholic has! That said, it can be very hectic sometimes, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. The key is to be passionate about what you do and to have the determination and grit to see it to completion.”
Currently, Leeroy serves as a Policy Analyst for the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC), an advisory body established by the Council of Eminent Persons to identify, examine, and recommend solutions to enhance and strengthen key institutions in Malaysia. The committee consists of five eminent figures, namely retired Court of Appeal judges Datuk K.C Vohrah and Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, National Patriots Association president Brig Jen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji, and our very own lecturer Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, the holder of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Foundation Chair.
Members and support team of the Institutional Reform Committee. (From top left: Ng Lian Yean, Zoe Randhawa, Elaine Wong, Leeroy Ting, Andrew Yong, Ding Jo-Ann, Ali Imran, Anis Sohaimi and Koh Kek Hoe. From bottom left: Brig Jen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Datuk K.C. Vohrah, Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, and Mr James Low.
Leeroy was given the opportunity to serve on the legally-trained IRC support team in aiding the IRC in performing their goals. His tasks include attending meetings, legal research, drafting proposals, taking part in policy discussions, and contributing to the IRC’s report to the government. In his words, it was an incredibly humbling and eye-opening experience. Leeroy admitted that there were times when things got overwhelming, especially when he found himself in the middle of sophisticated discussions about complex institutions as a fresh graduate. However, he was able to excel with the patience and guidance from other experienced mentors and colleagues in the support team. His admiration and appreciation for them shone through his words, “They are the unsung heroes of the IRC, and I would like to publicly acknowledge them and thank them here – the head of our support team, Koh Kek Hoe, and fellow support team members, Andrew Yong, Ding Jo-Ann, Zoe Randhawa, Elaine Wong, Ng Liang Yean, Ali Imran, Anis Sohaimi and James Low. I’m beyond grateful to have been given this experience so early in my legal career!”
At the end of the interview, Leeroy gave his take on the way to tackle life in law school. He advises law students to pay more attention to lectures and to prioritise their studies, to work hard and always aim to be better. He sees university life as the time to make mistakes and to learn from them. “Don’t worry so much, because you will turn out fine. Strive to learn from experience, and don’t be afraid to aim high, because university is the last training ground you’ll get before heading out into the real world.”